LIST impacts of coal mining and one absent key component is perhaps the most critical – jobs.
Jobs keep people fed, housed, clothed, educated and healthy.
While obvious, lack of appreciation of the enormity of the ability of the coal industry to provide employment, and lots of it, frustrates Coal and Allied’s principal adviser community investment, Steve Sneddon, whenever he is questioned about benefits of coal mining.
Environmental issues, rehabilitation, community spending and broader state and federal cash contributions in taxes and royalties often overpower one impact that affects more households in Singleton than any other.
“Coal and Allied employ 2500 people in the Upper Hunter and another 1500 contractors,” he said during this week’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast meeting.
As one of four guest speakers at the meeting, Mr Sneddon said he could have spoken about donations, the company’s Aboriginal development fund or its community development fund, but the ability for the company to offer employment at such significant rates should not be ignored.
Neither should the understanding that coal miners’ wages also supported Singleton, the state and the nation.
“’We should also recognise what happens in Singleton benefits other communities as well, businesses and firms around the Hunter Valley and beyond,” he said.
“A host community is not just where a mine sits, a host community is a community that benefits from mining activity,” he said.
“If we just look at Coal and Allied’s spend alone in the Hunter regional councils area, it was close to $900 million last year with more than 700 suppliers, that’s a lot of jobs.”
Evidence of employment opportunities rest with the statistics. Singleton has a 1.1 per cent, or less, unemployment rate compared to the state average of 5.2 per cent.